It’s hard to imagine all this stuff happening already before I was really old enough to appreciate it. I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I grew up in the country and was blown away accidentally finding Saturday Night Live and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on late night television. Nights in my folks house growing up were so silent you could hear the rats stealing the chicken food out of the coop. I had to balance the old CRT TV on my lap with the sound so low it was barely perceptible. My Dad had no conception of why I’d stay up so late, and be dogged tired early on Sunday when we went logging. But I fell in love. I saw bands playing on both shows and suddenly realized that there was this world beyond my mosquito-bitten dank backyard. The Cars, The Police, X, Captain Beefheart . . . this world of wizards and arts and performances.
There was no way to see something like this Stiff Records product from the mid-70s, and watching it now is like unearthing a time capsule of these artists at the start of their careers. They are baby versions of themselves. Who knew Elvis Costello would be such an Icon even 43 years later. Many of the artists, even Ian Dury, I only had on compilations. I am barely familiar with Edmunds and Wreckless Erik mostly because, I think, my tastes went away from this sort of pub rock and into the more stripped down hardcore scene pretty quickly. But here I am nearly shedding tears over the sweet playfulness of their bus rides, and the stage antics of Dury. Of course some of the songs are familiar, especially Costello’s who was a favorite of a high school sweetheart I just missed getting pregnant in the front seat of a VW Beetle. So yes, I’ve those things called “associations” with some of this music.
This video is short and sweet, it does not belabor anything, and just as you’re thinking you’d like a bit more of . . . it’s over. Someplace I have a Stiff Records box set and may have to break it out for more study soon, but good lord it’s like hauling out your entire drawer of broken heart love letters and ill-spent youth reading Ayn Rand (Blech!) and endless WWII history (not sure why the fixation).
The music was my mentor uncle in a way, someone (or many someones) to direct my attention to another world that, although I could not yet participate, was waiting out there for me and my Telecaster (yep, Dad broke down and got me one! Though I was still the backbone of our logging industry!) and we did work at it for a while.
If you’re a fan of the music this little collection is well filmed, and lovingly assembled. And it’s free on Prime.